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Liriomyza sativae

EPPO code


Common names

English names: Vegetable Leaf Miner, Serpentine Vegetable Leaf Miner, Cabbage Leaf Miner, Tomato Leaf Miner
Nordic names: Grønnsakminérflue (NO), Amerikansk minerfluga (SE)

Major host plants

This species prefers hosts within the Solanaceae and Fabaceae, but has also been recorded on seven other families.


Feeding punctures appear as white speckles between 0.13 and 0.15 mm in diameter. Oviposition punctures are smaller (0.05 mm) and are more uniformly round. Mines are typically serpentine, tightly coiled and of irregular shape, increasing in width as larvae mature. Larvae deposit excrements in a line inside the mines.

Liromyza sativa. Courtesy: Central Science Laboratory, York (GB) - British Crown

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Female flies puncture the leaves causing wounds which serve as sites for feeding or oviposition. Eggs are inserted just below the leaf surface. Eggs hatch in 2-5 days. The duration of larval development is generally 4-7 days. L. sativae usually pupariates externally, either on the foliage or in the soil just beneath the surface. Adult emergence occurs 7-14 days after pupariation, at temperatures between 20 and 30°C. At low temperatures emergence is delayed.

Major pathway(s)

Adult flies are capable of limited flight. Dispersal over long distance is on planting material of host species. Cut flowers can also present a danger as a means of dispersal. L sativae is regularly rejected on imported vegetable leaves from Asia.

Detection and inspection

Inspection of the leaf surface will reveal punctures of the epidermis and the obvious whitish mines with linear grains of frass at intervals along the length of the mine. Accurate identification requires laboratory examination. The use of sticky traps, especially yellow ones, placed near host plants is a very effective method of collection and estimation of infestation.

Pest status and importance

L. sativae is the most serious of the Agromyzid pests. In the EPPO region, it has the potential to become a major pest of a wide variety of ornamental or vegetable crops grown under glass or as protected crops. These crops grown in the open in the warmer parts of the region could also be damaged. In addition to economic damage, this species transmits a number of plant viruses, including Celery Mosaic Potyvirus. Moreover, its ability to survive in many weed plants which normally occur in areas adjacent to crop fields makes it difficult to be eradicated.

Source of information

See further information here:

Author: Christiane Scheel
Editor: Elise T. Yamamoto Buch